Any time an epidemic is paired with the power of social media, misinformation is bound to spread, and the coronavirus is no exception to this. Teens on TikTok have been using the outbreak as an excuse to make bad jokes or be blatantly racist, co-opting the Corona song for jokes about getting sick.
But to counter the false information spreading on the app, health organizations like the WHO, Red Cross, and even individual doctors are taking to the video app to teach you how to stay safe amid the outbreak.
Medical professionals are using the corona song on TikTok to provide accurate information.
While the internet is full of people making fake claims, medical professionals and international health organizations are taking to the app to share some basic information that can help you prevent catching the virus.
WHO, or the World Health Organization, specifically, has created an account on the app solely to provide accurate and reliable information about what you can do to keep yourself protected.
For example, many are rushing to stockpile surgical facemasks to protect themselves, but the WHO advises that unless you're exhibiting symptoms, you really shouldn't be buying the masks.
"If you do not have respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask," the text on the TikTok reads. "Masks should only be used by health workers, caretakers, and by people with those symptoms."
But if you find yourself fitting that criteria, they still run down how exactly you should be using the mask to maximize its effectiveness. Their instructions direct you to make sure the mask fits to your face, never touch the outside of the mask, and to never use the same mask twice.
Others are making videos combating the fake health advice on the app.
Other health professionals and news outlets have been using the app to refute some of the fake news spreading about how to combat catching the virus. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) posted a couple of TikToks debunking these false health claims, including the rumor hand dryers kill the virus and antibiotics treat it.
The only way to kill COVID-19 is to wash your hands — and thoroughly. Just running them through a hand dryer isn't enough to kill the germs. The organization also pointed out that antibiotics do nothing to kill the virus, as it's immune to most drugs.
The Telegraph also made a TikTok refuting a lot of the false information going around the app, debunking the claims that garlic can cure you of the virus, "wearing a water bottle as a mask" will keep you protected and that pets and mail from China spread the disease.
All of these claims are false, but they're all rumors that originated on the app.
These are only some of the wild claims that are going around the app and among the teens who use it. The number of people infected by coronavirus has risen to over 90,000 people internationally, and there are now over 100 cases in the United States. If you're only going to get your health information from TikTok, at least make sure it comes from reputable sources on the app.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.